Mom’s Choice Awards is excited to announce another post in our interview series where we chat with the inventors, designers, publishers, and others behind some of our favorite family-friendly products.
Hi MCA readers, thank you so much for joining us today! For this interview, we were able to sit down with multi-Mom’s Choice Award-winning author, Allen Brokken, and talk with him about his book Light of Mine! Light of Mine is book one in the Children’s Christian Action & Adventure Fiction “Towers of Light” Series! Fans of Little House on the Prairie will feel at home in the series’ classic farmstead setting, and the sincerity of the children’s love for one another— nurtured by the example of their parents—will bring a smile to readers and listeners of all ages. Light of Mine helps teachers and home educators enhance their student’s learning experience. It contains a reading comprehension section with questions from throughout the book. This provides educators with potential reading assignments and discussion topics. The section also provides access to a downloadable four-week unit study from Towers of Light Christian Resources. Keep reading to find out more about Allen and his award-winning book, Light of Mine!
MCA: Hi Allen, thank you so much for joining us today, and congratulations on all of your Mom’s Choice Awards! Light of Mine is an absolute delight to read from start to finish, filled with great pacing, twists, and turns on every page. I’d first like to start this interview by finding out about the author behind such an interesting story!
Allen: Christian, Husband, Father, Story Teller, Leader, at least that’s what my Twitter Bio says. My wife and I have three kids, two in college and a third graduating. We’re a homeschool family, and I spent much of the last decade running youth programs that my kids participated in as a volunteer while working full-time in technology leadership.
As the kids began to leave for college my volunteer work wound down, and I’ve branched out into a number of different things. Writing is the main thing but I’m also developing resources for homeschool families and I have a heart for encouraging fathers to connect with their families, so I put out the dad joke of the day on social media!
MCA: Dad jokes make the world go ’round! What were some things that inspired you on your path to becoming a writer?
Allen: As a young child, I started writing my first “official” short story in 2nd grade and won a contest with our local newspaper, and that just got me started. My 6th-grade teacher had an annual prophesy she would write about where kids would end up, and she pegged me as a writer.
Funny enough, by high school and then in college, I didn’t want anything to do with the lit classes that likely would have accelerated my writing journey. Instead, I got a degree in physics and went on to work in IT. Later in life, I became a consultant for a tech company and found myself writing what I’ll call near-term science fiction in the form of future state technology plans. But I never entirely gave up on wanting to write a novel.
MCA: As the saying goes you should never give up on your dreams! Was it your longtime desire to write a novel that lead you to eventually writing Light of Mine?
Allen: As a Christian homeschool family, we had difficulty finding contemporary books that reinforced our values. There were plenty of “classics” but the language tends to be dated and often the themes didn’t relate to the things our kids were going to be facing in life.
I was also traveling for work at the time, so I had a lot of downtime to write in the evenings. At first, I brought my children’s stuffed animals to life for silly adventures. But then, one day, while we were putting together a play fort in our backyard, I saw a sunrise pattern in the wood on the top of the tower. I thought:
“What if there was a Tower of Light shining God’s goodness over the children and their animals?”
“What if the children experienced the indwelling of the holy spirit in a real way like Sampson or David?”
“What if the full armor of God was physical armor they could use to defeat the darkness?”
As I shared my story with my children, they loved it.
MCA: I can see why they did! What are some of the key lessons that readers can expect to discover in Light of Mine?
Allen: More than anything else Light of Mine is a book about discernment. When their parents go missing, Lauren(12), Aiden(9), and Ethan(5) must keep the Tower of Light shining in hopes their parents can follow it home. Meanwhile, strangers come to their frontier community claiming authority over the kids. The children must determine who is telling them the truth and is on the side of The Light. Over and over again, they fall back to The Good Book and use it and the wisdom of the lessons their parents taught them to make hard choices.
MCA: Can you tell us more about the underlying theme of this book and why it is so relevant to this day and age?
Allen: We live in an age of disinformation and fake news. Now more than any time in history, kids need to find a way to get grounded in the truth. Kids need heroes in stories surrounded by disinformation and prevailing by using their values and common sense.
MCA: That is all very true! What kind of response from readers have you received?
Allen: The reviews overall are solid from a storytelling perspective, and people really enjoy the American frontier-like setting. It’s like Little House on the Praire, but fantastic might be a way to summarize that.
That said, my biggest fans are families that read it together. From all the conversations I’ve had with parents, they appreciate that the story can be read to the whole family down to age 5 or 6 and still keep the attention of children well into their teens. For example, one family took the first two books with them on vacation and read through them in the first couple of days of the trip. After that, the kids wanted to go home early to get the third book so they could find out what happened.
MCA: As I stated before, Light of Mine is the first book in a series of six. What can readers expect to see in the next book of the series, Still Small Voice?
Allen: Still Small Voice continues the adventure the very next day after Light of Mine with a focus on the children listening to their conscience. The children plan to save their parents, but their Uncle arrives with very different plans. Will he see The Light before the sneaky Dandelion Acolyte gets his revenge?
MCA: We cannot wait to find out!
You can learn more about Allen Brokken and his award-winning book, Light of Mine by visiting his MCA Shop page.